Relationships

Stop asking me if I miss sex with men when I date women

By Gabrielle Noel

Bisexual women are frequently stereotyped as uncertain, as people who exist between two sexualities rather than owning a distinct one. For femmes, I notice that this perceived indecisiveness leans in one direction. We are expected to prioritize our attraction to men, or to ultimately choose heterosexuality when our “lesbian phase” is over.

Other stereotypes present bisexual women as greedy and dishonest, as if we remain perpetually unhappy within the confines of monogamy but pretend otherwise. As we navigate the lesbian dating world, we hear: we are cheaters, we betray our female partners, we will hurt the women who take a chance on us with our indecision.

These assumptions are far outside of my truth. I love monogamy and many bisexual women do (although women who engage in ethical polygamy aren’t greedy liars either). And it seems to come from the belief that sex with men is the most normal, valid, and satisfying type of sex that exists and that I’ll therefore always require it. 

No, I am not “sacrificing” sex with men

I was most recently involved with a woman and I remember saying how fulfilled I was with the sex we were having. People were dumbfounded.

“Don’t you miss sex with men?” they asked. 

But no, I really didn’t. I mean, I noticed that men were attractive still. In the same way that heterosexual people don’t lose interest in the opposite sex when they start dating someone, my attraction to both genders didn’t evaporate because I fell in love. But monogamy and partnership are intentional practices, they require you to choose someone every day. I was willing to choose sex and intimacy with that woman exclusively and it didn’t feel like a sacrifice.

“I could never go without a penis,” straight women would tell me with accompanying looks of pity and sorrow.  I think they perceive me to be suffering when I date women, like someone on a really restrictive diet. And it’s laughable. Of course someone attracted to the opposite sex won’t be able to fathom a life without heterosexual sex. The difference for me is that I’m not heterosexual. So when my partner doesn’t have a penis, I’m thinking of the different but still awesome sex we are having together. I am thinking about the shape of her body, and the way she fits in my arms, and how my body feels, and how her body feels, and that’s it.

First of all, lesbian women have more orgasms than straight women 

I also consider how patriarchy shapes the sex scripts that each gender follows, and thus the pleasure experienced with each. Studies show that lesbian women orgasm more consistently than straight women, and this isn’t because we are born with a unique understanding of the female anatomy. Two women get to exist outside of a narrative that positions female pleasure as rare or unachievable -- we know, from pleasing ourselves, how untrue this is. 

I think men have been socialized to view my body as complex and tricky, but also that it’s not something worth figuring out. Heterosexual sex, as evidenced by much of mainstream pornography, prioritizes male pleasure and finishes with the male orgasm. So when I sleep with women, I appreciate that there is more space to conceptualize me as an equal.

Sex between two women is not inherently better; it offers different things to appreciate

In the aftermath of Babe.net’s Aziz Ansari expose, women have been expressing how normalized dehumanizing and coercive sex has become. I don’t think men have been socialized to pursue enthusiastic consent or informed consent, but rather a “yes” even if it comes reluctantly or resentfully. And while coercive sex can exist between two women, I notice it happens less. I notice how being socialized to be “sweet” and amenable factor into a sexual experience that more closely follows the F.R.I.E.S model for consent. And I love that.

None of this is to say that I believe sex with women is inherently better, or to express an overall preference. Instead, it shows that sex between two women offers different things to appreciate. I want to challenge the perception that in choosing women, there is something that they lack. So while the assumption is that my longing for a penis will ruin every relationship I ever attempt with a woman, that eventually I will retreat back into my true heterosexual nature, that’s not how bisexuality works. 

I am not sacrificing anything to be with women. I am attracted to all kinds of physical forms, to different genitalia, and one isn’t more valuable than the other. They both just are.


Image source: Coucou Suzette